Ben Davis solar farm provides more than just power

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- New technology in Wayne Township schools is bringing science to life, and saving money in the process.

The new solar farm was just installed this school year on an empty plot of land near Ben Davis High School, powering the school and young minds.

“This solar farm at Ben Davis High School was a perfect opportunity to get kids and teachers excited about the things were learning about,” said Rick Crosslin, a Scientist in residence at the MSD of Wayne Township.

Crosslin travels to Wayne township schools teaching different topics. On Friday, he was in Mr. Abner's 6th-grade classroom, teaching students about the new solar farm.

"This solar farm provides us a great opportunity to take what we’re doing, with capturing energy from the sun, right into the classroom where we can show students the impact it’s having on a regular basis," said Superintendent of the MSD of Wayne Township Dr. Jeff Butts.

With 7,200 panels, the solar farm will save the district at least 70 percent of their energy costs at Ben Davis High School, a 9th-grade center and a career center.

Teachers can also show their students the energy it’s creating in real time.

As students build their own solar projects, Crosslin is excited when they get it to work, but he’s even happier when they don’t.

“Part of science is making things work, but you actually learn more when things don't work,” Crosslin said. "Instead of giving up, persevering and making it work is key to science.”

A once empty plot of land, now being used to power schools. While also propelling the young minds inside them.

"The kids are going to grow up knowing the benefits, the direct benefits of solar energy," Crosslin said. "But number two, they’ve touched it. They've worked on it. Maybe they're going to make even better ones... Like most technologies, we need young people to solve problems, and the problem we have to solve is how to make these efficient.”

The solar farm cost the district $5 million, but with 12 years left on it’s lease they expect to save money in the long run. They’ve also added natural gas generators to create power even when the sun isn’t shining.

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